Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Medical Billing Specialist
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A career in medical billing is a growing field that allows you to work within the healthcare industry. While you're not dealing directly with patients, you're providing a valuable skill that is the foundation of a great healthcare system. A medical billing specialist has a unique role in the world of healthcare that isn't diminished by being behind the scenes compared to the role of a doctor or nurse.
Medical Coding Tasks
As a medical billing specialist, you'll review a patient's records to find out what kind of procedures and tests they've had performed. Each procedure and diagnosis has a code associated with it. They must be accurate since these codes are used for billing the insurance company. A code that is incorrect can severely limit the treatment that a patient is able to obtain based on their ability to pay. The coding is done using a special system for classification called the ICD-10, which requires education and special knowledge to operate.
Once the code is assigned to the procedure, the patient's data is added to registries and databases maintained by the healthcare facility where the billing specialist works. The patient's medical histories are kept current, and the specialist will interact with nurses and doctors to ensure they have the correct information in the patient's file.
Tasks for a Medical Billing Specialist
Along with coding, medical billing is done by the specialist. It's done through special software that submits the code to the insurance company for payment. The medical billing specialist will interact with patients and the insurance company to facilitate proper payments. When talking to patients, the specialist might need to explain the billing procedure and help the patients understand their benefits. The toughest part of the job can be the fact that patients might not be covered for a procedure they need, which is when the patient will need to be referred to their insurance provider. The billing specialist deals with receivable records to ensure that their employer is being paid for services rendered.
Where Do Medical Billing Specialists Work?
A medical billing specialist can work on a variety of medical facilities. Most billing specialists work in a hospital, nursing home facility or a physician's office. They can work in an insurance company or other healthcare facility like a psychologist's office too. Any place that offers medical procedures and takes health insurance will need a billing specialist to ensure that their employer is paid for treatments and procedures.
While there isn't a degree program needed for medical billing specialists, they can take classes and earn a certificate as a billing and coding professional. Most employers want a specialist who has earned a certificate or has had some experience in a healthcare facility.
Specialists will often need some medical terminology training as well as anatomy and physiology to understand the procedures to classify and code them correctly. This knowledge can be obtained through school or working in a healthcare facility.
Potential Salary for a Medical Billing Specialist
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work with medical records and in medical health information fields can make a median income of approximately $38,040 per year, or $18.29 per hour. While those entering the field start at the lowest wage with approximately $25,000 as their annual income, the highest 10 percent of the workers earned more than $60,000 per year. The amount of money earned is based on experience as well as where the specialist works.
Employment Outlook in the Field
As the aging population needs more medical treatments, the need for all types of healthcare workers will increase. The widespread use of computer programs and electronic health records will cause an increase in the need for medical records technicians and medical billing specialists to record, code, and bill insurance companies.
Reasons for Becoming a Medical Billing Specialist
- You don't need to go to medical school to work in the medical field.
- There are plenty of employment options for the medical billing specialist.
- Healthcare is a rewarding field.
- It's a fast-paced industry that rewards with great pay.
- It only takes a few months to start a new career.
Flexibility in the Field
There's plenty of shift flexibility in the field of medical billing specialist. You'll be able to work at night or early in the morning. Many healthcare facilities are open round the clock, which means they'll need workers for a variety of shifts. In some cases, medical billing specialists can also work from home. They can work for themselves as a freelance billing specialist that caters to small doctor's offices, or they might telecommute for an employer on a part-time basis.
Career Growth Opportunities
As a medical billing specialist, you can work your way up to other opportunities in the medical administration field. When you expand your skill set and receive more education, you could end up as an administrator or head of the medical records department one day. Nobody wants to feel stuck in a position without the chance for advancement, and a medical billing specialist is in the middle of the administration field with room to advance.
This fast-growing field needs more medical billing specialists, and it's a career that rewards its workers with a great salary. If you are looking for a new career that doesn't require years of schooling, this could be the perfect career for you. You'll be able to work in the healthcare field doing important work without having to deal with patients. It puts you into contact with interesting people including doctors and nurses who are saving lives too.
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